DOD Social Media Privacy Setting Advice

Title: DOD Online Privacy Smart Cards

The Department of Defense has a series of “Smart Cards” with advice for online privacy settings. There are no security restrictions on these cards, so they can be shared publicly.  The Public Intelligence website has posted a number of them that were released around March of 2015.

The cards are designed for military or people in sensitive positions. Each card has two pages of advice with suggestions about avatars, connections, personal and family posts, and specific privacy settings for a number of platforms.  These links are to the documents in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format at Public Intelligence.

Evolution of an Unintentional Sex App

Bullet list with Sexually Oriented Business

The mission of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is to serve the people of Texas, and protect the public health and safety, through consistent, fair and timely administration of the Alcoholic Beverage Code.  According to the Legislative Budget Board‘s Fiscal Size-up, the purpose of the TABC is “to deter violations of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code by inspecting licensed establishments within the alcoholic beverage industry, investigating complaints, regulating the personal importation of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes through the state’s ports-of-entry locations with Mexico and the seaport at Galveston, and enforcing state law.”

In August of 2016, TABC released an app that “allows members of the public to do their part to promote public safety by reporting breaches of the peace and other incidents which occur inside businesses licensed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.”app screenshot showing gender icons labeled Sexually Oriented

The app allows the user to perform a location-based search for permit holders in various categories. Here is a screen-shot of the app as it was initially rolled out in soft public release:

The maker of the app, Neubus, highlighted its features:

  • Search for Businesses – Find nearby restaurants and businesses that sell alcohol, including narrowing searches based on permit type, status (active or inactive), or business type (bar, brewery, restaurant, hotel, etc.)
  • Interactive Map – See basic information such as business name, address, directions from your location and street-level view of the business.
  • Pending Permits – View pending original license/permits in your area.
  • Complaints – Report TABC-licensed businesses which sell after hours, to minors, or over serve; also inform the TABC about establishments condoning gambling, drug use, prostitution or human trafficking
  • Feedback – Provide feedback about TABC employees and TABC certification schools
  • Violation History – Identify what alcohol permit violations have occurred, including sales to minors or other violations.

TABC issues permits for certain sexually-oriented businesses in part to assist in the enforcement of laws against the sale of beer on premises where acts that are lewd, immoral, or offensive to public decency occur. However, the ability to search for the nearest sexually oriented business raised some concern among the public.

TABC quickly responded by App screenshot with gender icons labeled Miscellaneousrolling the sexually oriented businesses into the Miscellaneous category, but without changing the icon for that category. This oversight muddled things briefly, until that oversight was corrected with the final version.

The final version is now available without charge in the iTunes App Store and on Google Play for Android. app screenshot showing asterisk icon labeled Miscellaneous

Engage Constituents with Social Media

This is an excellent, quick how-to guide for elected officials on using social media to connect with constituents, from the official’s perspective. “Conversations & Constituents: Using Social Media to Engage and Influence” was given by Maura Devine of Kivvit to the National Conference of State Legislatures‘ Legislative Summit, August 2016, and is also online at

Conversations & ConstituentsScreen shot of slides

Tulsa Parking parody accountIn a nutshell, that’s public service’s Twitter problem. Parody accounts are easy to make and hard to counter. To the credit of the maker of the parody account @Tulsa_Parking, the account is clearly labeled as a satire.  Also, the City of Tulsa picked a response approach that is a little heavy handed and legally questionable, as the seal has been altered by the addition of the poop emoji, among other things. Tulsa Parking is so proud of the response that they pinned it to the top of their account.

The parody twitter account links to a website that carries this warning:

“This is a satire site protected by the 1st Amendment.

We are in no way affiliated with the bloodsucking parasites that are employed by the City of Tulsa

Suck it, nerds.”

The website notes Tulsa Parking’s nomination by The Tulsa Voice for “Best Tulsan to Follow on Social Media,” links to an event announcement on Facebook, and then contains the text of Machiavelli’s The Prince.

Laws on parody accounts generally are evolving and focus on consequences such as actual harm being caused.  A British attempt to close a government parody account was briefly successful but then reversed. India appears to have succeeded in their attempt. Trying to close such accounts in the US raises obvious First Amendment issues. Further, Twitter is littered with government parody accounts and has formal policies on how to create and respond to parody accounts.

Lighten up, City of Tulsa. The account’s popularity is a hint that you can’t intimidate the author, and you also have zero chance of successful prosecution.  Look inward and ask yourself why it has struck a chord — is the attack merited? Twitter is a mechanism for changing government policies, even when politeness is not observed. Otherwise, learn from the experience of others of dealing with trolls. Turn it into an engagement opportunity. See it as a teachable moment.

Of course, if it was an emergency situation and lives were at stake, the advice would be different. But parking? Really.